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Overcoming Workforce Challenges in Oregon’s Construction Industry: Role of Independent Insurance Agents in 2023

By May 16, 2023April 18th, 2024No Comments

Oregon’s construction industry in 2023 is predicted to encounter numerous workforce challenges, from rising wage expectations to a lack of skilled labor. These hurdles could significantly influence the productivity and profitability of construction businesses. However, independent insurance agents have a crucial part to play in helping these companies effectively navigate these obstacles. This blog post will examine the workforce challenges expected in Oregon’s construction sector in 2023 and clarify the role independent insurance agents can play in overcoming these challenges.

The construction industry is currently facing a critical labor shortage. According to the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor. This issue is not unique to Oregon, but its implications are being distinctly felt in the Beaver State.

Here are some of the key workforce challenges that the construction industry in Oregon will need to address in 2023:

Rising Wage Expectations

As inflation rises and the cost of living increases, employees are expecting higher wages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports an 8.2% increase in the consumer price index over the past year. As workers demand higher wages to cover these costs, construction companies will have to manage these expectations while maintaining financial stability.

Lack of Qualified Workers

The industry is not just facing a worker shortage, but a shortage of qualified workers. With the impending retirement of Baby Boomers, who make up a significant portion of the construction workforce, the lack of skilled workers is becoming more apparent. In 2023, Oregon construction companies will continue to grapple with this challenge.

Competition from Other Industries

The labor shortage is not unique to the construction industry. In 2021, more than 47 million workers quit their jobs searching for better work/life balance, better pay, and a strong company culture. Industries such as retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and durable goods manufacturing are all competing for the same pool of talent. This increased competition makes the task of attracting workers to the construction industry even more challenging.

Declining Interest Among Young People

Convincing young people to choose a career in construction is another significant challenge. The societal emphasis on higher education over trade skills is contributing to the dwindling number of young people entering the industry. Additionally, the working conditions in construction, such as irregular hours, outdoor work in all weather conditions, and potential for accidents, might be less appealing to the younger generation.

Need for Specialized Skills

As the construction industry evolves and embraces new technologies, the need for specialized skills increases. Workers will need to be familiar with augmented reality, smart construction wearables, construction exoskeletons or exosuits, drone technology, AI and machine learning, modular construction, 3D printing, building information modeling, and blockchain. Meeting this growing demand for specialized skills will be a significant challenge for construction companies in Oregon in 2023.

Future Steps

To tackle these challenges, the construction industry will need to adopt strategies such as broadening recruitment efforts to include underrepresented groups like women and people of color, promoting a strong company culture, offering apprenticeships to attract younger people, and upskilling workers to meet the demand for specialized skills.

The industry has always faced workforce challenges, but the intensity of the current situation calls for innovative and targeted solutions. By recognizing and addressing these challenges, construction companies in Oregon will be better equipped to thrive in 2023 and beyond.

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The Role of Independent Insurance Agents

Independent insurance agents can be instrumental in helping construction companies navigate these challenges. By offering personalized insurance solutions, they can provide the financial stability and risk management that construction companies need in these uncertain times.

Independent insurance agents can help in several ways:

  1. Workers’ Compensation Insurance: They can help construction companies find the best workers’ compensation insurance that offers wage replacement and medical benefits to workers injured in the course of employment. This can help attract and retain workers by ensuring their safety and financial security.
  2. Risk Management: Independent insurance agents can provide guidance on effective risk management strategies, helping construction companies minimize potential liabilities associated with on-the-job injuries, equipment malfunctions, and project delays.
  3. Customized Insurance Solutions: They can offer tailored insurance solutions that meet the unique needs of construction companies, including coverage for new technologies and specialized equipment.
  4. Employee Benefits: Independent insurance agents can help construction companies set up attractive employee benefits packages, including health insurance and retirement plans, to attract and retain skilled workers.

By partnering with an independent insurance agent, construction companies can better manage their risks and create a more secure and attractive work environment for potential employees. This, in turn, can help them overcome the workforce challenges they face in 2023 and beyond.